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WTO trade liberalisation talks collapse

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WTO trade liberalisation talks collapse

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Marathon talks on trade liberalisation have collapsed at the World Trade Organisation. Participants blamed a failure to compromise over measures to protect farmers. The sessions, chaired by WTO chief Pascal Lamy, failed after nine days of intense negotiations.

Washington had opposed a push from India, China and Indonesia to secure protection for their farmers if they were faced with sudden surges of cheap farm imports. The impasse derails substantial progress that had been made on other agricultural, manufacturing and services trade issues

Attempts to broker a global trade deal began in 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks on the US. The hope was an agreement would boost the world economy and help poor countries.

The negotiations have lurched from crisis to crisis and more years of delay are now likely because of the US presidential election in November, changes next year in the European Union’s executive Commission and a likely election in India.

However trade ministers may opt to come back after the summer break for one last attempt.